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In Festival Guide

Watch out for falling flip flops ... or worse. (PHOTO: Andy Tarnoff )

In Festival Guide

Go ahead and dance on that picnic table, we don't make fun of you. Maybe. (PHOTO: Andy Tarnoff )

100 things to do at Milwaukee's summer festivals, 2012




Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on May 30, 2012 at 9:02 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.


How excited are you for Milwaukee's summer festival season? If you're like us, the answer is very.

For several years, we've published our list of "100 things to do at Milwaukee's summer festivals," but this year, it's new and fresh for 2012.

Think you can do them all? Good luck ... and please add your own suggestions using the Talkback feature below.

  1. Stack your cups at Summerfest
  2. Get to Greek Fest before the gyro meat is gone
  3. Watch cream puffs being made at State Fair
  4. Sip the honey liqueur at Polish Fest
  5. See a band on the brand-new BMO Harris Stage at Summerfest
  6. Enjoy a human-powered ride at Renaissance Fair
  7. Grab a seat that's close, but not too close, at Chill on the Hill
  8. Get artsy at the 50th annual Lakefront Festival of the Arts
  9. Storm the Bastille
  10. Drink an import beer at State Fair
  11. Sing karaoke at Pride Fest
  12. Run the Beer Run at Locust St. Festival of Music & Art
  13. Visit the State Fair petting zoo
  14. Drink a Guinness outside of Irish Fest
  15. Take a drunk shuttle to and from Summerfest
  16. Slurp dill pickle soup at Polish Fest
  17. Participate in a pow wow at Indian Summer
  18. Splash with your kids at the Summerfest fountain
  19. Enjoy a Harley-free crowd at Rockerbox
  20. Sip champagne at Bastille Days
  21. Carefully eat flaming cheese at Greek Fest
  22. Observe the beautiful people at Jazz in the Park
  23. Ride your bike or motorcycle and park for free at Summerfest
  24. Secretly pet a bunny at State Fair
  25. Sit in a custom car at the Milwaukee Rally
  26. Ooh and ahh at the Festa fireworks
  27. Marvel at the giant dogs at Polish Fest
  28. Play the pull tabs at just about any ethnic festival
  29. Show at up Summerfest before the gates open
  30. Cover your ears during the Milwaukee Air and Water Show
  31. Slide down the giant slide at State Fair
  32. Appreciate the lake view from the rocks
  33. Cut through the crowds by taking the "lake route"
  34. Climb Jacob's Ladder at Renaissance Fair
  35. Get a henna tattoo at Locust Street Festival of Music & Art
  36. Savor a Bloody Mary at the Tomato Romp
  37. Marvel at the gadgets at the State Fair Expo Center
  38. Savor the mushrooms at Renaissance Fair
  39. Polka with an old person at Polish Fest
  40. Bar crawl State Street after Hart Fest
  41. Get down with Tweed Funk at the Paramount Blues Festival
  42. Scour Polish Fest for the cheapest pierogies
  43. Stuff your face with State Fair's potato pancakes
  44. Collect insane amounts of candy at Labor Fest
  45. Sample the Wisconsin wineries at State Fair
  46. Caber toss at the Highland Games
  47. Scream "Play 'Free Bird'" to a church festival cover band (actually, please don't)
  48. Try all the new foods on a stick at State Fair
  49. Spend the entire longest day of the year at the Summer Soulstice
  50. Make way for the marching bands at Festa
  51. Stand in line and enjoy flavored milk at State Fair
  52. Do not walk underneath the sky glider
  53. Ingest a giant strawberry at Cedarburg's Strawberry Festival
  54. Trade beads the the Mardi Gras party at Bastille Days
  55. Sample Armenian wine at Armenian Fest
  56. Gobble cheese at the Brady Street Festival Cheese Fest
  57. Join a drum circle at Summerfest
  58. Appreciate the free water bottle at the Van's Warped Tour
  59. Make a repeat appearance Oktoberfest
  60. Enter the mooing contest at State Fair
  61. Scream at the El Grito contest at Mexican Fiesta
  62. Bounce between the Bay View Bash and Global Union festival
  63. Listen to Denise LaSalle at African World Festival
  64. Slurp a smoothie at State Fair
  65. Park on someone's lawn
  66. Celebrate the return of Indy racing at the Milwaukee Mile
  67. Road trip to Oshkosh for the EAA AirVenture
  68. Try out the mini giant slide at State Fair
  69. Slide down the giant piggy bank at State Fair
  70. Laugh at people faking accents at the ethnic festivals
  71. Count dudes in kilts at Irish Fest / Renaissance Fair
  72. Try an ethnic food you've never had before
  73. Bring a can of food and get in free
  74. Enjoy a hearrrrrrrrrrrrty laugh at Port Washington Pirate Festival
  75. Run over the Hoan Bridge at the Rock N' Sole
  76. Eat the fish fry at Port Fish Day
  77. Bet on the pig races at State Fair
  78. Squirt water in a clown's mouth at the midway
  79. Have your weight demeaningly guessed at State Fair
  80. Two words: roasted corn!
  81. Stuff your face at the Qdoba contest at the Milwaukee Rally
  82. Try both a red and white wine cooler at Summerfest
  83. Pipe up for the yodeling contest at German Fest
  84. Avoid brain freeze but eat every flavor of gelato at Festa Italiana
  85. Drink a Lakefront beer at Locust Street Festival of Music & Art
  86. Cool off under a mister at Summerfest
  87. Sit very close to the fireworks at the South Shore Frolics
  88. Rock out to Foreigner at the Waukesha County Fair
  89. Relive the '80s with Belinda Carlisle at Pride Fest
  90. Forget you're in Milwaukee at the Bradford Beach Jam
  91. Embrace the lake at Gathering Waters Urban Island Beach Party
  92. Appreciate amazing cycling at the Great Downer Avenue Bike Race
  93. Swing to the Big Bad Voodoo Daddies at Festa
  94. Watch something get pulled at the Racine County Fair
  95. Space out to the "Darkside of Oz" at Fish Fry & A Flick
  96. Dance on a picnic table at Summerfest
  97. Be blown away by Steve Cohen Blues Allstars with Junior Brantley & Greg Koch at River Rhythms
  98. Peek in at the lovely St. Sava church during Serbian Fest
  99. Drink a beer with a monkey at Zoo a la Carte
  100. Celebrate freedom on Juneteenth Day

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